Nat King Cole recorded “Unforgettable” in 1951 and it landed on his 1952 album with the same title and was reissued in 1954. Cole was very popular in the 1950s after having hit songs in the previous decade and the number one record in 1951 with the song “Too Young.” This time period is also when Cole became the first African American man to host a variety show in 1956. The show which aired on NBC only lasted one year because a national sponsor could not be secured. “Unforgettable” would be covered by many other artists including Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack. The song had a resurgence after Cole’s death when his daughter Natalie Cole recorded the song as a duet with him in 1991. Natalie’s version of “Unforgettable” was high on the charts and went to number one in Canada. Technology made it look like father and daughter were singing together at the 1992 Grammy Awards and this performance became legendary in Grammy history. The “duet” also took home three awards including Record of the Year.
Nat King Cole died in 1965 after a career as a groundbreaking artist who pioneered the jazz trio, a hitmaker, television and film star. Natalie Cole passed in 2015 after having a successful career in her own right that spanned four decades and earned her platinum records and multiple Grammy awards. Nat King Cole’s original recording of “Unforgettable” entered the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000.